Yes, we finally got the driver's license and it has been so nice! We were hoping to get into a car on Wednesday, but it didn't end up being until Thursday. We got a call from the vehicle coordinator and he said that he'd be by our apartment in 30 minutes to deliver my license and a car for us to drive. We got super lucky, we're now sporting a 2013 Ford Fusion— it's really nice and even has the built-in Bluetooth so I can answer the phone while I'm driving, ask it to turn on certain songs, the works! It's been so nice to have wheels again..! Not having to walk everywhere has saved us a lot of time and energy, and it's opened up a lot more possibilities for us (visiting different people, that kind of stuff). Not to mention we don't have to ask everybody for a ride anymore— I hate that a lot.
No, they've had two sets of missionaries in the area for awhile. I think it's been like 9 months since we (the elders) got here. There's just a lot of outdated information we've been sorting through. We are tearing through names in our books, either they've moved or aren't interested. It's been a very slow week, but not having to walk has helped us sift through a lot of it to find people open and interested. (Sifting the wheat from the tares, that sort of thing.)
So our investigator she goes by Lyra, but the Venaglia's (Ed and Lyra) recently joined the church like less than six months ago. They are awesome, we always enjoy eating with them and occasionally we help them with yard work, etc. Bro. Baertlein, we call him the B-Line though. He's great- we found a new person to teach through his invite, and she might possibly invite her daughter to join us for the lessons so there is some sweet potential there! We had a lesson after our zone meeting on Wednesday with them and it went really well! She was really open and super nice, plus she is very upfront and honest with what she thinks and feels so getting to the root of her concerns and questions is really easy. Other then that we have one family we are (somewhat) regularly meeting with. So that's pretty much our teaching pool right now, hence we are praying for more people to teach.
We've some interesting experiences this week though. Like in the middle of the week we had dinner with a member of the church who is gay. It's crazy, you hear about all this chatter on that subject but it was really interesting to hear it from his perspective. Especially since he's married to a practicing Jewish guy. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was definitely a Portland experience, but I really enjoyed it. The food and the conversation (their sesame chicken was delicious).
They both come to sacrament pretty frequently- I was amazed at how okay with everything they both were. The guy who was a member has been a member for a long time, served a mission, was even married with kids for quite a few years. We talked about his experience with it all, and it was crazy. Even though it's challenging in a lot of ways, he still holds to what he believes and I thought that was super cool. His partner was funny though, he knows more about the church than like 3/4 of the members and loves the church for what it does in people's lives. It's good to know that even being amidst the thick of it, these two can look past it and make it work somehow.
Sounds like some crazy things have been happening back home! I've been hearing all sorts of interesting stories lately. Facebook always brings me surprises- and Elder Meredith keeps me updated on people outta' my circle!
Well, I hope everybody has a good week. Love ya,
Elder Samuel A. Burge